Pandemic-induced mental health issues are on the rise – The Royal Gazette

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Created: May 3, 2022 08:00

EAP Executive Director Latisha Lister-Burgess (file photo)

Since the start of the pandemic, the Employee Assistance Program has seen an increase in the number of managers needing help dealing with employee mental health issues.

“Many managers are good at managing work projects, but not so good at managing employee feelings and emotions, said EAP executive director Latisha Lister-Burgess.

So, next month, EAP will be offering Supporting Staff in Crisis, a two-hour course for managers.

“The course will talk about the nature of depression and anxiety and their risk factors,” Lister-Burgess said. “We will look at what reasonable accommodation is. We’ll look at what organizations should be doing to help. »

They will offer a similar course for employees, Supporting People in Crisis. This course will focus more on supporting family, friends or colleagues with mental health issues.

Last month, the World Health Organization reported that anxiety and depression had increased by more than 25% since the start of the pandemic.

This matches what Lister-Burgess sees at EAP.

“EAP has seen a huge increase in the number of people using our services,” Ms. Lister-Burgess said. “We’re seeing a lot more people with depression and anxiety and work and personal pressures.”

Ms Lister-Burgess believes the increased isolation caused by social distancing is contributing to the problem.

“We’re meant to be social creatures,” she said. “We are meant to be together.”

And she said the pandemic is just plain stressful for many people, including herself.

“My family never had Covid-19, but we were quarantined five times,” she said.

Ms Lister-Burgess said many people still working from home are cut off from their usual support village.

She said women have been particularly affected. Half of women now struggle with mental health issues such as depression, compared to a third of men.

She thought it was because women are often the primary caregivers in the family.

“More women are leaving the workforce than men right now,” she said.

“The expectations of working parents have not kept pace with the reality of Covid-19. In my own life, as a result of Covid-19, my eldest son does not have a pre-school care program. Before the pandemic, you could drop your child off early and pay a little extra money. Not everyone’s life starts at 8:30.

And since she has kids to drop off at Sandys, it’s hard to get to town before 9:30. She said that if she worked for a less favorable employer, her situation could be very stressful.

“There are all these things that happen behind the scenes that directly impact people’s lives,” she said.

When many companies discuss employee wellness, they talk about exercise programs or healthy food options in the staff room. Ms Lister-Burgess thinks more companies need to add staff mental health to their list of priorities.

Supporting Staff in Crisis will be a virtual class held on May 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $200. Supporting People in Crisis will take place on May 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. This cost is $150.

Several free mental health courses will also be offered next month, such as making a mental health plan, managing stress and anxiety, and helping children with depression, anxiety and mental illness. suicidal ideation.

For the full list of free webinars or to register, see eap.bm/webinars. To register for paid EAP courses, email accounts@eap.bm.

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